90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 30 – Anywhere but Right Here and Now

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 30: Anywhere but Right Here and Now

“Do not dwell in the past. Do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

-Buddha

The most efficient way to make us miserable is to keep our heads in the past and in the future. We are not either place and by focusing in a place we are not, we miss where we are. We can skip over key parts of relationships, miss grand adventures, project our pasts onto people who are here now, project our future hopes on people who aren’t capable of being apart of it, stay in jobs for the wrong reasons, live outside our means, miss important life lessons, and miss living in general…just to name a few. Those just scratch the surface of all we miss by being anywhere by right her and now.

When we aren’t here, we are operating on autopilot. In autopilot we miss the magic of nature, the joy of people laughing, the compassion for people’s pain, red flags, and warnings meant to lead us to safe places. We are living scared of repeating the past or fearing the unknown future. This is a DANGEROUS place to live. I’ve not only got some hard life lessons this way, but I missed some of the most beautiful majestic moments. I’ve missed experiencing some of the best parts of life.

Link for additional reading: Leaving Autopilot and Becoming Present

The myth of HAPPILY EVER AFTER belongs in fairytales. We destroy our current relationships of expectations of life looking a specific way. We ignore red flags flying high because many of the people who promise us this long term happiness after a short time of dating are not happy or healthy people. We are attracting people out of desperation of a future dream. We are all wearing masks in the beginning trying to figure each other out. Many times people are just flashing their insecurities around trying not to repeat the past in hopes of chasing that fairytale. We are anywhere but right here and right now when we are projecting the unknown future in our brand new relationships or hopes for a new relationship. We can have hopes and goals, but attaching to them for our happiness is the problem. Happiness and authentic joy only exist in the present moment. Have you ever stayed longer in a relationship because of the promises of a future or the hopes that he/she will go back to treating you like he/she did in the beginning? Neither place is reality. Reality is what is happening here and now.

Link for additional reading: Enjoying My Happily Ever Now

When we are focused anywhere but in this moment, we can get overwhelmed with the everyday steps of life. We pile everything onto us and try to leap a mountain in a single bound instead of taking one step at a time. We make ourselves crazy with everything we need to get done by some future time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost myself in this trap. Nothing else exists except for all the things that have to get done. We miss so much of life living in our mental to-do lists. We need it out of our heads and onto paper where we can take one task at a time, without the tornado we create by swirling it in our heads.

Focusing on our pasts does incredible damage to our now if it is used to keep us down. We can use our pasts as a weapon of mass destruction in our lives. If we are holding onto it with an iron grip, even if it’s supposed good stuff, it destroys where we are and if we don’t let go of it, it will destroy where we are going. We have choices. Sometimes others like to make it sound like we don’t, but we always have choices in how we perceive a situation. NO ONE and NO EVENT can take that away from you. Our perceptions can be our survival mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially, and physically. We must clean up our own perceptions before we can serve the world as our best selves.

For me, I simply see the past as important lessons. Whether they were joyful lessons or hard-hitting pick me up from the floor lessons, neither one will predict how my now or future will be. My now will be affected by aligning my head with where my feet are. When we do this: we attack people less, make healthier choices now, see clearly, and just do the best we can one step at a time. This isn’t a journey of perfection. This is a journey of awareness, strength, courage, and hope.

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Anywhere but right here and now is a trap we keep ourselves in. We put ourselves in harm’s way. We fight based on unhealed wounds, which only spread more fear, shame, blame, judgment, and hate. We fight based on resentments of how we think things SHOULD be. Nothing should be any different than it is right in the moment we are in. There are lessons to learn right here and now, and the more we avoid learning them the harder the lessons we will get hit with. This is as true for us in our personal lives as it is in the world. We will keep manifesting what we don’t want if we keep our energy focused on fear, shame, blame, judgment, and hate. We will stay at war with ourselves and with the world. The way out of the madness can’t be forced on anyone. Just like the choice to live in fear can’t. We have to choose in each moment how we want to live OUR lives. With every moment we have a choice. This choice can’t be taken away with violence or other people’s views, it is ours and ours alone. We can live or die with peace and love or hate and fear. In this moment—Where do you want to be? Be there now!

This is the final day of Part I: A Journey of Awareness. In Part II (month 2) and Part III (month 3), you will get the tools, techniques, and guidance to assist you into transforming your life to be the best you and live YOUR best life. I will not tell you where your strength is to serve, you will be led on the exact path that is right for you. I’m just here to help you expose new pathways and see doors you want to be opening.

There is no one-stop shop for breaking some of these hard-wired beliefs and patterns that have kept us in the victim role of our own lives. Choosing to see my life as a classroom has opened me up to learn and get the tools I needed to live a life I love living. I didn’t find my perspectives for living a great life in one place and neither will you. When you start living your journey and taking accountability for your life, so many doors start opening! You will be led to people, places, and things (friends, professionals, classes, books, seminars, podcasts, videos, websites, just to name a few). The beautiful thing about this journey of awareness is when we are ready to open our eyes to our present moment—Our world opens up! We see that change is possible and all it takes is being willing to do something different than what we’ve done to get us out of our own way.

Just for Today

Be aware of how often you leave your present moment and feel overwhelmed with fears of the future or judgments from the past.  How are those thoughts serving you? Are they contributing to the life you want to be living or are they contributing to creating more fear?

Thank you for taking this Journey of Awareness  with me! Now that you have opened yourself up to the journey, let’s do the work! Join me for:

Part II: A Journey of Perspective

What Launches Us Forward: The Stable Foundation

Don’t forget to come back later to read today’s Letter from A Better Me! 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 30 – Suffering from My Lack of Presence

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff  ©2019

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 9 – Exposing the Shame Within

Letters From A Better Me

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 9: Exposing the Shame Within

Dear Shame,

I see you in how I treat myself and the people around me. I see you in how I perceive my life and the world around me. I AM LOVABLE. I don’t have to prove myself to the world in order to believe the simple fact that I deserve to be here. I will no longer let your power over me control my life. No matter what my thoughts are—I’m lovable. No matter what hard lessons I’ve had to learn in my life—I’m lovable. I have made plenty of mistakes and made missteps along the way, but that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve to look in the mirror and show myself love and respect.

The only person I need to focus on being loved by is in that mirror looking back at me. That is the only person I have any control over. I know that once I love myself exactly how I am, you will have no power over me. If I can love me, others will choose to follow my lead. The ones that don’t, I know aren’t meant to be in my life. I will love myself enough to walk away instead of making myself crazy by trying to get someone who may not even be capable of loving to love me. When I chase love, it’s because I don’t feel worthy of it. That is you! I don’t have to believe your messages of fear, shame, blame, judgment, and hate. I’m rising above and connecting to the love within me to light my path.

I will communicate with my creator, family, friends, co-workers, community members and strangers with the love and respect that I feel for myself. This will keep me safe from their opinions of me. This will help me to have the healthy boundaries I need when serving others. My value doesn’t come from the outside of me. That was just you telling me that I’m not enough.

Nothing I’ve done can keep me from being lovable unless I CHOOSE to let my actions and the actions of others feed that belief. I’m exposing the shame within to let go of the fear, shame, blame, judgment, and hate that has been trapping me in a hell that I no longer want to live in. I can feel these feelings without having to live my life according to them. I will allow the feelings to teach me instead of trap me in your vicious cycle of thought.

Thank you for being my teacher. Seeing you clearly has shown me my strength, courage, and power to change my life. I’m going to choose to live it how I WANT to now.

With Love and Gratitude,

A Better Me

Rachael Wolff ©2019

I hope you are following along and reading the companion pieces: 90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 9 – The Secret of Shame

If you want help in going through this process and want to do the work to change your life at an accelerated pace, check out the 35-Day A Better Me Boot Camp. It is a personalized course where you get to work through changing unhealthy thought patterns daily. It will help transform your thinking into seeing the value of the life you’re living and treating yourself with the love and respect that you deserve. You also get to work personally with me holding your hand through the entire 35-day process. Spaces are limited because of how personalized this process is. Reach out now on Facebook Messenger: http://Facebook.com/FromALovingPlace

or e-mail me at LettersFromABetterMe@gmail.com.

No matter how you decide to proceed, today you can CHOOSE how you want to live, you just have to KNOW you’re worth living your best life.

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 6 – The Fear of Religion

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 6: The Fear of Religion

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

-Yoda

Some may think I’m crazy for writing this. Why? FEAR! Fear over religions trigger personal attacks, rage, murder, war, and self-destruction. Does it mean religions are bad— NO! If you’ve been following the series you will remember reading about the power of AGAINST. You may have heard or said I’m spiritual, not religious. Even that can be based on fear. It doesn’t mean it is, but we have to really investigate the feelings behind our choices of any spiritual practices to know if they are based in fear or love. If a person is AGAINST religion, that is based in fear. It still will have the same negative effect on our systems even if we try to hide it from others and ourselves.

Side Note: Some people will struggle to get through this piece. It might trigger all kinds of emotions. If you are one of these people, write all the feelings and thoughts down on a piece of paper. Then later, write out your definitions of love and fear. Then see which category your thoughts and feelings fall under. Remember Part I is all about becoming AWARE.(PLEASE DO NOT SPREAD FEAR OR HATE if that is what comes up. This experience is a personal experience for you to investigate how you are choosing to live. It’s not about judging anyone else.)

I’m not here to push religion or spirituality down anybody’s throat. I’m just asking people to look inside and be aware of their own thoughts and feelings about their own religious/spiritual practices and those of others. This whole series is meant to open our minds to what holds us back, how to work with what we got, and tools to move through any unwanted/unhealthy patterns to lead us to being the best versions of ourselves.

I want you to take a second to think about the your family, your friend group, or an organized group you belong to and answer these questions:

  • Do you all think exactly the same?
  • Do you practice your religion and/or spirituality exactly the same way?
  • Do you express love, joy, anger, or fear in the same exact way?
  • Do you express your thoughts in the same way?

Let’s take a more specific topic, Christians?

  • Does anyone who says their Christian follow the same exact religious practices?
  • Does each church that practices Christianity have the same exact practices and beliefs?
  • Does each person who practices Christianity express love, joy, anger of fear in the same way?
  • Does each person who practices Christianity believe in EVERY single concept that his or her religious sector preaches?
  • Do Christians make mistakes?
  • Can Christians interpret the Bible differently from church to church and person to person?

You can take ANY religion and see the answers are all the same. We are all human and each one of us will interpret words differently based on our own personal/family experiences. How can ANY of us as individuals talk about any group of people and assume ALL of them are any specific way? FEAR whispers in our ears from our own pasts, family, friends, media, and sometimes our religious leaders. Think about my story of the alligator in day 4, fear drove the woman across the lake to personally attack me. Fear leads us to attack what we don’t know, because we haven’t taken the time to investigate what we fear.

When I was a child, I had a negative experience in church. Church didn’t feel safe. My fear triggers would get ignited and I would actually feel bad about myself being there. I knew that didn’t feel right. Throughout my youth, I would go to different places of religious practices with friends’ families. In some, I would feel guilty and ashamed that I wasn’t a better person.  In others, I felt alive, free, happy, and inspired to be the best I could be. The difference that I didn’t understand until much later was that I was inspired by ones that told stories of loving actions and preached love. I felt frozen and shutdown with ones that preached fear.

After a lot of formal education on religious practices (through cultural anthropology, diversity in psychology, and course in the history of religion), questions, and personal experiences I found the moment where my nervous system was triggered. Anytime, I came out feeling there was judging, shaming, and/or condemning. Fear wreaked havoc and created an internal chaos inside me. If the stories inspired loving action my body and my spirit felt full and I would want to rush out of there to take loving action.  Fear froze me, and love inspired me.

What I realized that this could be a person’s experience in any religious practice. Each place of worship will have someone in charge who has to interpret what they worship and each leader will perceive the messages differently. They are just as human as we are. If their personal practice is led by fear, they will teach more fear. If their personal experience is focused on love, they will see the love in what the stories and concepts they are spreading. Understanding this showed me how personal a person’s religious and spiritual practice is.

If we don’t understand another person’s personal religious practices to the point where it affects our nervous systems and causes us fear, that’s not healthy.  The best thing we can do for our own health is talk to people to help us understand.  This doesn’t mean to have to believe what they do. It’s about seeing the love and/or fear for what it is. A person’s individual choice in how to live.

It took me years of accepting verbal and emotional abuse before I realized how long I’ve been taught to fear and mix that concept with what love was. I was taught to fear an ALL POWERFUL BEING in the name of love. I blamed church for a long time for that which only perpetuated more fear.  When I found the definition of love that felt right to me, it was from the Bible.

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Now, my spiritual practice and how I CHOOSE to live is based around that definition and any place I go that doesn’t practice that definition of love, isn’t the place for me. I’m no longer making my choices about religion and spirituality based on fear. The God I believe in is ALL loving and that means it’s my job to love myself and others through eyes of love. That’s why I can read stories from any religion that inspire love and be moved. Love has opened me up to experience more and more love without boundaries of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, and/or any other belief systems. My spirituality is about feeling and expressing love to every person who is put on my path. Sometimes, I fail out of fears that creep in.

Even then, I don’t beat myself up or shame myself over it. I just keep trying to do better next time. My mistakes teach me and are usually what I need to go even deeper into my practice of loving action. That is why I started From A Loving Place.  If I can see love in someone’s religious/spiritual practices, I will listen in AWE! I don’t have to believe what someone else believes, that is what is so powerful about love. I just have to see the love in someone’s heart and I can connect.  If I do see fear in someone’s thoughts and actions, I try my best to be as loving as I can. Sometimes that means keeping my distance because that is me showing love to myself. Other times it means I will be kind and loving to help a person understand where I’m coming from. Then there are times where I just have to pray for them to find their way out of fear and hate.

Love doesn’t attack others. Love doesn’t shame others. Love doesn’t leave nasty messages on social media. Love doesn’t seek revenge. Love doesn’t make other people feel small. Love doesn’t name-call. Love doesn’t create our internal systems to tighten up and freeze. FEAR does all of that.  When we are engaging in our fears we hurt ourselves and others sometimes unconsciously and other times very consciously.

I don’t know anyone personally that engages in a spiritual/ religious practice with the intention to hurt themselves or others. That is why it is so important to be vigilant with ourselves to make sure that we are not letting our confusion of fear and love lead us to do things that do hurt ourselves and others.

We choose to act in fear and we choose to act in love. We are here to learn to be better, not beat ourselves up over past choices. Our experiences are our lessons and we can choose to live in fear or love at any given moment. In the next few weeks we will look at the power of shame, blame, judgment, and hate. These are all to make us AWARE of how living in fear affects us.  Part I will be challenging at times and it will trigger our fears because they want to stay alive in us. You might not agree with everything I say in any of these pieces. All I’m asking you do is be open to listen to what is triggering you and write it down in a journal. Then through the process look back and see if anything has shifted even slightly.

Just for Today

Look at your own personal views on religion and spiritual practices and assess which ones come from a place of fear and which views come from a place of love. Look at how each view makes your body feel.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff © 2019

I hope you have chose to come on this journey and follow From A Loving Place. Don’t forget to check-out today’s companion piece:90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 6 – My Fear of Religion

Please remember to be kind to yourself during this process of becoming aware. We only ever can do the best we can at any given moment. We don’t need to beat ourselves up for not being perfect. None of us are. That is the human experience. As long as we are learning and growing– We are on the right path. Sending out love and light to everyone who is on this journey with me. 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Stop Abusing Ourselves: How to Bring Healthy Relationships into Our lives

If you are one of the many people who have wondered what a healthy relationship looks like, more than likely you are guilty of abusing yourself. Why do I say this? Because healthy people don’t have to ask the question, they just have healthy relationships. This isn’t just an outer appearance healthy; this is the healthy that comes from the core. Those of us who struggle with issues of self-worth, guilt, and shame have to dig really deep to even figure out where these insecurities come from and have to do even more digging and work to figure out ways to let these past struggles go in order to move on and have healthy relationships. I will give you some of the tools I used to break the horrible cycle of self-abuse, but I can’t do the work for you. If you don’t do it, you will continue on the same path and continue to ask yourself the question, what do healthy relationships even look like? I don’t know what the result will be for you, but for me…It was AMAZING!!!!!

1. Become AWARE of Your Part

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I know it is so much easier to blame the other person involved, but we are treated the way we project out. What does this mean? Watch how you are talking, communicating, and acting towards yourself. I’ve read so many relationship books throughout the years and whether the author was talking about it in ways I didn’t understand or I was focused on the outward goal that I ignored the inner work. I don’t know, but seriously I didn’t see this clearly until I was taking a college course at 38 years old. A college professor told the class how “We’re as sick or as healthy as our partners.” WHAT????? I didn’t realize my sickness was my feeling of having no value to someone else. I didn’t know that my sickness wanted credit for making other people better. I didn’t realize how utterly unlovable I felt. I was one sick puppy who spoke horribly to myself and treated my body like a giant punching bag.

The way we treat ourselves is like any other habit. Somewhere we pick up an action or behavior. We start repeating it daily. Once we can do it on autopilot, BANG!!! It’s now a habit. Habits of self-abuse tend to hide under rocks, so we don’t tend to see them until we are ready to start looking under rocks to find them. If you’re ready to start, here are some good questions to bring out some of the hard to see habits that have been taking over your psyche:

  • How do I talk to myself when I make a mistake?
  • How do I treat myself when I do something nice for myself?
  • How often do I do something nice for myself?
  • Do I feel guilty about doing something nice for myself?
  • Do I exercise my body and mind so that it can function at its best ability?
  • Do I talk to myself in ways that I wouldn’t accept people talking to my best friend?
  • Do I talk to myself in ways that if a partner, parent, or stranger did it, it would be called emotional abuse?
  • When I look in the mirror, what do I see?
  • When I let other people’s behaviors stir me up, what thoughts about myself are going through my head?
  • Do I take responsibility for other people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions?
  • Do I mentally beat myself up?
  • Does my eating support a healthy mental outlook?
  • Do I criticize myself when I don’t exercise, eat right, or have unhealthy encounters with others?

Be honest and write the answers out. Really become aware of how you are treating yourself. It matters, because if you accept that treatment from the one person you are with from the cradle to the grave, you will make it acceptable for others to take your lead.

2. Accept Responsibility for Your Choices

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If you are anything like me, that list above revealed a lot of not so nice truths about how you treat yourself. Some of them were very well hidden. Don’t use this list as yet another reason to beat yourself up. You are finding your way out, which is something to be celebrated!

The way I started accepting my responsibility is by seeing my relationships as lessons of how I was treating myself. I used a method by Byron Katie called “The Work” (click on it and it will take you to her site). The method consists of four questions and then a turn around. This process REALLY helped me to start to accept the responsibility for what I was putting out there. It helped me see what these partners were latching onto and flinging right back at me.

Now, when I’m being triggered its my sign to look at myself. I’ve accepted that my lack of self-care can lead me to be mistreated by others. My critical eye on myself can create me to have a critical eye on the relationships in my life. If I’m judging others, I’m judging myself worse. One of the questions I used to ask myself was why did I choose him? I even wrote a piece on it.

Every partner we choose gives us great lessons. We just have to open our eyes wide enough to see them. When a relationship is unhealthy, we aren’t healthy. Healthy people don’t attract unhealthy partners. Accepting our contribution to the chaos is the way out of the ugly patterns that keep us making the same mistakes over and over.

Now, here’s the trick: We can’t beat ourselves up over the choices we’ve made to get us where we are now. If we do that, we stay in the cycle of self-abuse. We have to forgive ourselves, find the lessons, and move on.

3. Take Action on Your Personal Journey

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We can’t do this for anyone else. No one can do this for us either. No friend can tell us enough times. No mom or dad can forbid us from getting treated badly again. No therapist can listen to our problems enough to support us not doing any work. We have to do the work. We will stay unhealthy until we decide with all our convictions that we truly want something better than we have right now. Nothing will change until we can look at ourselves in the mirror and say, “I love you exactly the way you are” and more importantly, mean it. If you, like I did, struggle with this part of the journey, Louise Hay recently wrote a book called Mirror Work. She’s been doing seminars on this for decades, but she finally came out with a book that has a 21-day process. It took me a little longer than 21 days to accomplish what I wanted to, but this offers a great start and if you can stick to it, you will start treating yourself better.

We can’t blame anybody else for where we are right now. We all make choices to contribute to our best or worst attributes. We all have the opportunity to make an ugly past into something beautiful or to let it be our excuse to hold us hostage to our misery. We also each get to make the choice of the life we want for ourselves. As long as our actions follow the path of what we want, we can achieve it. As for healthy relationships, we can only attract healthy partners if we become a healthy partner. We can’t tell the Universe we want healthy lungs and then pick up a pack of cigarettes everyday. If we want healthy lungs we need to do a good cardio routine, drink water, and stay where there is good air quality. Take responsibility for your actions. The relationship with yourself has to be fixed before any other healthy relationship is possible.

This is your journey! A couple techniques that may help you commit to taking positive actions are:

  • Practicing Positive self-talk
  • Writing a list of all the positive attributes you would like to see in a partner, then start taking action steps to make sure you yourself are portraying those attributes.
  • Write a story of a positive life you would like to see for yourself. Make sure you are the hero in your own story. Don’t put the power of happiness in someone else’s hands.
  • Make a list of three things you like about yourself EVERY day for 60 days. This is you doing one thing for yourself daily to take care of your emotional and mental well-being.
  • Make a daily gratitude list
  • Walk 10,000 steps a day
  • Get outdoors and just watch nature unfold
  • SLOW DOWN and be Present
  • Meditate
  • Pray

WAIT!!! This list is not meant to be taken on all at once. Pick a couple of things and start there. I like change right now, so sometimes when I start looking at positive outlets for change, I want to take them on all at once. Then the second I fail, I use it as an excuse to get back into the pattern of self-talk that says, I’m not enough. I can’t do it. Don’t go there. Of course if we take on too much it will be too much. Start small, we can’t fix ourselves overnight. A friend once enlightened me on how the process of personal growth takes time. The longer we’ve had these self-sabotaging habits, the longer it will take to unlearn them and replace them with healthier ones. BE PATIENT!

You may experience big changes, then follow it up with a little step backwards in order to take the lesson a little deeper. Remember, we will only be given the lessons we are ready for.

4. Put Yourself on top of Your Own Priority List

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Don’t think I don’t know how hard we can make this one. Believe me, I know and as mom and a partner, I can definitely challenge myself to stay on my own priority list. With awareness, acceptance, and action I get see my progress. Now, I see a lot faster when I haven’t made my needs and myself a priority. I see when my kids are suffering, because I’m stretching myself too thin and making us all crazy for it. I can see it with my partner when I start expecting him to be someone he’s not and resenting him for taking care of his own needs. All signs lead to me not being at the top of my own priority list. My most recent lesson with this has led me to see that I just need to focus on the 24 hours ahead of me.

We don’t need to get caught up in any unknown future that keeps us from being available today. That’s what a calendar is for. Taking on only one day at a time makes self-care possible. The second we get into future thinking, all the sudden our time magically disappears to do anything to take care of our own personal needs. Just today, what are you going to do to take care of you?

Oh the excuses we can come up with to not do this one. Please, stop. If we have the time to do things for others that they can do for themselves; let them do it! They can be responsible for their own stuff; we have to be responsible for ours. If it means we need to get up 30 minutes earlier to do a meditation, exercise, or read a chapter in a book that contributes to the life we want to have; MAKE TIME FOR IT! We may need to use our lunch break or come up with a different routine at bedtime, but whatever it takes. We are all WORTH IT!! If we truly want to attract a healthier lifestyle, our life has to project it. We can only do that if our own life becomes a priority.

5. Be KIND to Yourself!

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Developing self-care, self-respect, self-love, and self-worth are all big tasks for people who have to ask themselves, “What does a healthy relationship look like?” We took a long time to get so down on ourselves that we don’t even know what healthy is anymore, some of us may have never known. We can’t expect anything to change over night. Just like anything else, we have to build up muscles that are weak or have never used before. The only way to keep going in the right direction is to practice, practice, and practice. We are going to make mistakes, but they are there to help us learn what we need to work on. We may go back to unhealthy relationships and be shunned by the people who love us, but if we need to do it to learn, then that is our journey. We may go for a person who is worse for us than any other person prior, but we brought the relationship there for a reason. Maybe, just maybe, we are ready to see what we need to do to break the cycle. Any way if happens, be kind to yourself.

Self-Abuse gets us nowhere and will keep us stuck wondering if we will ever be truly loved. We all get to choose how we will be treated by the people we love. When we love ourselves, we won’t attempt to hurt others or ourselves. We will not attract others who are looking to hurt us. They aren’t even meaning to hurt us. They, like us, are caught in a cycle of self-abuse caused by shame and guilt. Some people’s shame is so deep seeded it causes them to mentally and/or physically abuse others. Most of these people are burying their shame so deep that they have no idea how badly they are abusing themselves. They are projecting hate and rage that is stirring inside of them. It’s very sad to see, but they will only get help when they are ready to change. Our job is to stop focusing on the relationship that is causing us pain on the outside and start focusing on the one that we can change, the one we have created for ourselves on the inside. The first step is start figuring out ways you can be kinder to yourself.

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We will project a person who people respect, because we respect ourselves. We will project a person who inspires love, because we know how to love ourselves. We can’t fake this, if we try, the truth will come out. We will continue to get lessons to help us see the beautiful person that lies within the walls we’ve created. Trust the process! You are Worth it!

If you are in a situation where your physical safety is at risk, PLEASE seek help from an abuse shelter in your area. They are trained to help to keep you safe. If this process is too much for you to do on your own, please seek help from a professional. The key is for you to get the help you need to stop the cycle.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

Facebook.com/FromALovingPlace

How I Grew From My Toxic Relationships

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If you are reading this, you probably either have been involved in or had a front row seat to watch someone else’s toxic relationship unfold. I have had the privilege of experiencing both, and yes I meant privilege. My toxic relationships are what got me healthy. It was like a boot camp for emotional/mental health. Does it work that way for all people? No, but it works that way for the people who ask to be better, stronger, braver, and more compassionate. Toxic relationships show us our darkest shadows and our biggest attributes. When we take the relationship by the reigns and start seeing it as an opportunity to look at ourselves, we come out shining!

(If you are involved in a physically abusive relationship, PLEASE consult with a professional who specializes in domestic violence. There are safety precautions that may be necessary. When we start getting healthier, an abuser can get more violent in the transition. Sick people like to keep us sick. They will do their best to keep us down. PLEASE, first and foremost always keep yourself safe. This doesn’t mean stay, it just means you have to use more caution.)

Awareness is Key

First, we must see our part in our unhealthy relationship. This wasn’t easy for me. There were many realities I avoided facing when I was involved in these relationships. I wish I could say that it only took one bad relationship to figure out my stuff, but I will just say, even in a healthy relationship, I still get faced with some of the darker sides of me. The difference is awareness and using healthy tools to not let darkness cast a shadow on my joy. Here is what I picked up along the way:

1. Law of Attraction is always at play

If we are in a toxic relationship, we attracted it to us. The question is why? My self-worth was part of that answer for me. I had no idea how cruel I was to myself. Over time, I  learned I could only accept the amount of abuse that I gave to myself. If it went over the cruelty of how I treated myself, I would leave. When I realized I attracted the relationships,  I saw that they acted as a mirror of how I was treating myself. I had to start to dig deep to figure out what it was that I didn’t like about myself. I will tell you, it wasn’t pretty. There was a lot of tears and layers of shame and guilt that went all the way back to childhood. OUCH! I didn’t realize how much I avoided looking at myself until I learned from a college professor that we are as sick as our partners. It may present differently, but if we are in the relationship we are responsible for our part of the sickness.

Another big piece of my attraction to these chaotic relationships  was codependency. I was attracting unhealthy partners because I needed to be assigned a savior role…YIKES! I don’t like admitting it, but I wanted to rescue someone from the trenches. Really, anything to avoid looking at what was holding me back.

After facing the darkest parts of me, I had to figure out what I did want in a relationship, so I made a VERY long list. I kept it positive and used language such as, I want someone who lives a healthy lifestyle. Instead of saying, I don’t want a smoker. I learned the hard way that when we focus on the don’t, we get it! If I love and respect myself, I will attract the same qualities in a partner.

2. If I’m reacting, I’m triggered

If I am engaging in the very behavior I’m condoning, I’m just as much at fault for the results. Here’s a lesson I needed to learn, there doesn’t have to be a screaming match. When two people are screaming at each other no one gets heard. We are not listening, we are fighting to be right.

When I’m hurt by my partner’s behavior, it’s usually because of some unhealed part of me from the past. I may be reacting to their defense mechanisms that were familiar to me from a previous relationship. I might be reacting to my old defense mechanisms. What I realized is that even just a silly word can throw everything off. The word may not even have the same meaning for the person in front of me, yet because I’m reacting to an unhealed hurt, I react out of fear.

3. I Can’t Hide from My Insecurities

We can’t hide from our insecurities. They will find us!! We need to deal with them instead of covering them up or masking them. All we will do is create problems that don’t need to be there. If we have jealousy issues, it is our job to look at ourselves before taking them out on our partners. If I don’t trust my partner to be loyal, I obviously have trust issues. Is  it because I chose a man who is not ready to commit? Have I lied to myself about how ready I am to be in this relationship? The truth is, when we are healthy we realize we don’t HAVE to trust the person we are with, we have to trust ourselves. We NEED to trust our intuition, guts, and instincts. When we are healthy, we are not carrying around all the hurts of our past. We aren’t held hostage by old relationships. When we are loyal to ourselves, we attract loyal people.

Any relationship, toxic or not is a great place to see where our insecurities are holding us back. My thoughts about my relationships show me so much about how my own internal dialog is getting in my way. As I get healthier, I have watched the dialog change. I have learned more efficient ways of communicating without taking my insecurities out on my partner.

4. If I Don’t Love Myself, I Won’t Attract A Healthy Partner

How can we recognize something we don’t know at our own core? My toxic relationships really pointed out how much I didn’t know about what love is. I would make excuses for abuse. I held onto empty words and promises. I allowed them to be disrespectful to me in private and in public, yet I would defend their love for me, or what I thought was love. The truth is, until I learned to love myself, I didn’t know what peace was. I had no idea how much I perpetuated my self-hate by the relationships I was choosing.

5. Giving Too Much is NOT Healthy

When I give to others to the point where I’m not taking care of myself, I’m not acting in a healthy manner. Self-care is essential. When I became resentful of what I was contributing to the relationship, because they weren’t giving back, I was putting their needs before mine. Not only does the law of attraction always work for me, but it always works for them too. If my partner wants someone who will take care of them and put them first. They put that out there. Maybe that is what they are used to, it may be what their mom did for them. The vicious cycle continues and we are now the caretaker they attracted. I attracted them, because I wanted to feel needed.

Now, I realize that my self-care is important. If I’m giving too much, I stop taking it out on my partner and I start putting the attention I was putting into them into taking care of myself. This can be hard getting used to, but I can tell you it makes for much healthier relationships. We both get the best of me, and I am able to receive and recognize the best in return.

6. I’m Responsible for My Happiness or Unhappiness

No other person can control my feelings. I choose how I feel. I choose the actions that lead me to feeling better our worse. I choose to perceive situations that feed the direction I’m subconsciously or consciously going. Learning that I’m not responsible for other people’s thoughts and feelings helps me continue to grow. My job is to do the best I can at whatever I’m investing my time in. If that is not enough for someone, then maybe we are not the right fit. I need to hold myself accountable for what energy I’m putting into a relationship. If I don’t want a toxic relationship, I can’t put out toxic energy. I need to watch where I’m focusing my thoughts and feelings. Am I getting caught up in other people’s drama? Am I watching television that makes me feel anxious and angry all the time? Can I see more solutions or more problems?

After figuring those things out, I need to figure out what actions I need to take in order to engage in a more loving energy. Do I need to volunteer my time to a cause? Do I need to spend more quality time with loved ones? Do I need to invest more time and effort into self-care?

Overall, I grew by understand that I had to change in order to change the relationship. Leaving toxic relationships behind was a true achievement for me. They taught me SO much and made me the loving person I am today. I’m grateful for the lessons and the awareness. Life is now what I hoped it would be. Even my darkest days have light, because I know I’m growing stronger, braver, and more loving with each passing day.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

 

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